If every quarterly business review led to more profit and less work for both parties, everyone would make them a priority.
The goal of the QBR in a single word is “profit”. Profit for you and your clients. Profit comes from:
- Identifying new products and projects that solve problems for clients, helping them save money, work smarter or increase their revenues.
- Learning to work efficiently with clients to reduce your expenses.
- Improving client retention by bringing attention to your efforts and value.
QBRs are not really sales calls or status reports. QBRs are opportunities to learn more about your clients and turn that understanding into projects and services clients want in return for more profit for you.
Structuring the Quarterly Business Review
The quarterly business review (QBR) is your opportunity to understand where the client is headed so that you can get there ahead of them and deliver the solutions they’ll require. The result of the QBR is an updated plan that you and the client approve that plans for those changes. Done well, the QBR becomes very valuable to clients to help them lay out a timetable for better competitiveness and risk reduction.
A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) provides a good framework for implementing these business reviews. When working with clients, think of the review in two phases – listening and planning. In the first phase, you’ll dive deeper into client understanding to accurately assess what is and isn’t working. In the second phase, you’ll apply this understanding and your own technology insights to make sure your strategy and plans for the client are up-to-date.
The table below identifies a good starting point for your client meeting.
Client SWOT Assessment
Strengths & Weaknesses (Listening)
- Infrastructure – age, impact on productivity, mobility, capacity and scalability
- Personal productivity – usage, growth, implementation, training, competency and breadth of adoption
- Group productivity – collaboration capabilities (internal and external), company systems, adoption and training
- Data governance – storage locations, protection, backup, growth and security
- Licenses and applications – integration, cost control, workflows, onboarding and offboarding processes
- Security controls – physical, cloud, data and user protections and results
- Identities – security, implementation, threat identification and remediation
- Compliance – regulatory and corporate policy frameworks and adherence
- Service – history, ticket workloads, response times and outstanding issues
Opportunities & Threats (Planning)
- Revenue initiatives – data management, analytics, applications, cloud, virtualization, collaboration, chat or cloud printing
- Cost savings initiatives – cloud, Internet provider, phone systems, server migration
- Productivity initiatives – training for individual and group productivity that can provide an ROI of time spent
- Risk initiatives – new cost-effective ways to increase security and minimize overall client risk
- Compliance initiatives – new cost-effective ways to improve compliance and reduce auditor time requirements
Over time, technologies change and offer new client opportunities. The QBR identifies those changes and helps your firm plan to accommodate those needs.